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      Decolonizing Canadian Water Policy : Lessons From Indigenous Case Studies

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            Revision notes

            I have added a new section to the article: "What Does it Mean to Decolonize Water?" In this section I develop an account of the Canada Water Act and how it has legitimized Crown claims to water. I also proivde an account of how some Indigenous Nations, like the Syilx Nation, have refused Crown claims. This section is also important for contextualizing the next section on the OECD principles on water governance since it shows how the colonial aspects of water within the principles can be mapped onto the Canadian context. This, in turn, reinforces the force of the argument that it is essential to have an approach like Two-Eyed Seeing within Canadian water governance. 

            I also expanded some sections for clarity.


            Meaningful lessons about decolonizing water infrastructure (social, economic and political) can be learned if we scrutinize existing governance principles such as the ones provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Principles on Water Governance (OECD, 2021). Instead of using only Western frameworks to think about policy within Indigenous spheres of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), the Government of Canada can look to Indigenous ways of knowing to compliment their understanding of how to govern areas of WaSH efficiently. In this paper, the term Indigenous encompasses First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations (Hanrahan & Hudson, 2014; Blaser, 2012). I present this paper as a step out of many toward decolonizing water governance in Canada. I hope to have shown in this paper that it is necessary to make space for other voices in water governance. By highlighting the dangers in the Case Studies, three lessons are apparent in this paper: 1. There needs to be an addition of Indigenous Two-Eyed Seeing in water governance; 2. Canada must strengthen its nation-to-nation praxis with Indigenous communities; and 3. There needs to be a creation of space in WaSH that fosters Indigenous voices. This is necessary such that there can be equal participation in policy conversations to mitigate existing problems and explore new possibilities.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            26 February 2023
            [1 ] Department of Philosophy, McMaster University;
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 3 March 2022
            : 10 May 2023
            Funded by: funder-id , N/A;
            Award ID: N/A

            Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
            Environmental ethics,Environmental management, Policy & Planning,Geography,Applied ethics
            Decolonization, Water, Policy, Indigenous, Ethics, Canada,Water resources,Environmental policy and practice,Environmental justice and inequality/inequity


            Date: 10 May 2023

            Handling Editor: Professor Sarah Bell

            Editorial decision: Accept. This revised article has been accepted following peer review and it is suitable for publication in UCL Open: Environment. 

            The handling editor has the following comment: the authors have adequately addressed the reviewer comments from the first and second series of reviews.

            2023-05-10 14:46 UTC

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